Suspended crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli told an inquest on Wednesday that he was never a suspect in the initial investigation into the death of his love rival, Oupa Ramogibe.
"I was never fingered as a suspect in this matter," Mdluli told the Boksburg Magistrate's Court, south of Johannesburg.
"Yes, rumours were there, people looked at me with big eyes, but I continued doing my work."
Ramogibe's family allege he was killed in February 1999 after running away and marrying Mdluli's mistress Tsidi Buthelezi.
The court heard that Mdluli continued to climb the police ranks from 1979, when he started.
Ike Motloung, for Mdluli, asked him about his career in the police and whether he would have climbed in the ranks if he was a suspect.
"Impossible. I would never have gone up like that in the police. If you have a pending case they put your application [for promotions] aside until all your troubles are over," Mdluli said.
"You can't be appointed."
He said he also would not have been vetted or passed a security check done by the National Intelligence Agency.
Mdluli recalled reading a headline in a newspaper in 1999 about Ramogibe's death.
"It was a long time ago, I don't remember the exact details, but I remember the heading was 'love triangle'," he said.
Mdluli was accused of the murder aong with Samuel Dlomo, Colonel Nkosana Sebastian Ximba, and Lt-Col Mtunzi-Omhle Mthembeni Mtunzi, but the charge was provisionally withdrawn in February pending the outcome of the inquest.
Also withdrawn were charges of intimidation, kidnapping, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, attempted murder, and conspiracy to commit murder.
Earlier, the court heard that Ramogibe was shot dead when he went with Dlomo to a location where he had previously been shot at.
Mdluli said he was not aware that Dlomo had taken Ramogibe to the scene. He also said they were not friends, only colleagues.
After the shooting, Mdluli heard that a police officer had been attacked and robbed, but not injured. He said at the time, Vosloorus was a violent place.
Mdluli wore a beige suit, and looked straight ahead of him while speaking.
The inquest continues.